Kent State Board of Trustees Approves Two New Majors to Meet High Demand for Growing Fields

The Kent State University Board of Trustees approved two new degree programs at its regular quarterly meeting held Wednesday, Dec. 15. The new majors – the Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology major within the Bachelor of Science degree and the Emerging Media and Technology major within the Master of Science degree – will help meet the high demand for these types of programs and provide opportunities for students to find careers in these growing fields.

The College of Education, Health and Human Services and the School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies will establish the Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2022, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education. To be offered fully online with a hybrid option, the program will provide students, athletes and those preparing for careers as coaches and sport practitioners with the knowledge of psychological theory and the skills to enhance human behavior in the sport and exercise settings and the performing arts. The major will prepare students for careers such as assistant athletic trainers, sports performance coaches, and strength and conditioning coaches.

The College of Communication and Information will establish the Emerging Media and Technology major within the Master of Science degree, effective fall 2022, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The new degree program will offer students innovative cross-disciplinary perspectives on social data analytics and research and creative technologies. Students in the program will receive training to identify, find, organize and analyze data to make decisions and communicate on emerging media platforms, including theoretical understanding and skills in web application development, data organization and analysis, emerging media storytelling, digital strategy, project management and data visualization.

Board Ratifies Fiscal Year 2021 Efficiency Report Citing Nearly $31 Million in Savings

The Board ratified the university’s Fiscal Year 2021 Efficiency Report and Master Recommendations report, which indicated effectiveness and savings for Fiscal Year 2021 of $30,943,584. The savings is nearly $5.3 million higher than originally estimated.

The report, which is submitted annually to the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, highlights realized savings that include $4 million in savings from the tuition tier revision, nearly $3.6 million in savings from textbook affordability, $10.1 million in savings from the employee voluntary separation plan and strategic hiring, nearly $2.2 million in savings from debt refunding and $1.1 million in savings from the Inter-University Council insurance consortium.

Board and University President Approve 26 Named Spaces in New Crawford Hall in Recognition of $10.7 Million in Philanthropic Gifts 

The Board approved naming resolutions for 17 spaces to be located in the future Crawford Hall based on philanthropic gifts of $100,000 or more. An additional nine named spaces were approved by Kent State President Todd Diacon that were below the required Board approval threshold. On Oct. 22 in a special meeting, the Board approved construction of a new state-of-the-art building named Crawford Hall for the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship, both named for Ambassador Edward F. Crawford, who committed the largest single gift in Kent State history to complete the capital campaign for the building.  
The new Crawford Hall will support innovative instruction, leading research and student support services for thousands of business majors, minors and others taking business courses across the Kent State system.  The following actions received Board approval:

  • Naming of the Robert M. and Janet L. Archer Kent Water Sports Trading Lab and the Robert M. and Janet L. Archer Kent Water Sports Business Analytics Lab.
  • Naming of the John S. Brinzo Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation and the John S. Brinzo Entrepreneurship Laboratory.
  • Naming of the James R. Unger Global Forum.
  • Naming of the Matthew E. and Nancy S. Likens Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship Suite.
  • Naming of the Medical Mutual Community Welcome Court.
  • Naming of the Walter G. and Judy A. Van Benthuysen Collaboration Staircase.
  • Naming of the Arthur and Susan Karas Behavioral Research Hub.
  • Naming of the Timothy D. Eippert Boardroom.
  • Naming of the SEI Investments Team Area.
  • Naming of the Robert D. Hisrich Faculty and Staff Lounge.
  • Naming of the Angelo and Joyce Kinicki Classroom.
  • Naming of the Katy Dix Brahler Conference Room.
  • Naming of the Barry E. and Jo Ann Fetterman Stock Ticker.
  • Naming of the Greg and Kathy Long and Ralph R. and Grace B. Jones Foundation Welcome Center and Reception Area.
  • Naming of the R. Louis Schneeberger Student Success Reception Area.

Board Approves Naming of the Henry and Louise Timken Atrium

The Board approved the naming of the Henry and Louise Timken Atrium in the university’s Aeronautics and Engineering Building on the Kent Campus. The atrium of the Aeronautics and Engineering Building addition will be located directly inside the building entrance that will face the Lefton Esplanade and will serve as a connective space for the new addition’s various laboratories, classrooms, collaborative spaces and auditorium. The two-story atrium will provide a unique environment for the unmanned aircraft systems flight operations program and researchers to fly indoors year-round while also creating a dynamic public space to encourage collaboration and community.

Recognizing Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering as a leader in higher education and excellence in Northeast Ohio, the Timken Foundation of Canton has given more than $3.2 million in support of the sciences, arts and engineering at Kent State since 1989, including a recent award of $1.5 million in support of the expansion of the Aeronautics and Engineering Building. Henry and Louise Timken were pioneers in industry and aviation, respectively, in Northeast Ohio.

Board Approves Six-Year Comprehensive Capital Plan for Fiscal Years 2023-2028 

The Board approved a six-year comprehensive capital plan for Fiscal Years 2023-2028 that identifies projects that are most important to the institution in terms of facilitating the upgrade of campus infrastructure to address specific academic program requirements and to address the backlog of deferred maintenance, including information technology. The plan primarily includes projects funded by state capital appropriations and does not list projects solely financed by local funding, philanthropy or utilizing a public/private partnership.

The Ohio Department of Higher Education requires that each institution of public higher education in Ohio prepare and submit a six-year capital plan. The projects identified in Kent State’s six-year capital plan represent the highest priority needs on Kent State’s eight campuses and are in alignment with the university’s master planning process and deferred maintenance priorities. 

Projects for the first two years of the plan include:

  • The construction of a new centralized Front Campus chilled water plant.
  • The rehabilitation of the second floor of Beall Hall to serve as a new satellite facility for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.
  • The second phase of deferred maintenance in Cunningham Hall.
  • Americans With Disabilities (ADA) Act improvements to the Kent Campus.
  • The renovation of outdated classrooms across the Kent Campus.
  • Library renovations on the Ashtabula Campus.
  • Purinton Hall classroom renovations and electrical equipment replacement on the East Liverpool Campus.
  • The second phase of the Fine Arts Building roof replacement and library ceiling replacement on the Stark Campus.

Board Approves Revision of University Hazing Policy to Align With Collin’s Law

The Board approved an update to the university’s policy regarding hazing to align with Senate Bill 126, better known as Collin’s Law. The law is named for Collin Wiant, who died during a hazing incident in 2018 at Ohio University.

Kent State’s updated policy reflects the definition of hazing with that of the state legislation, describes enforcement for students, employees and volunteers, provides information on reporting hazing and states the sanctions for violating the hazing policy. 

The university has established an Anti-Hazing Task Force to create an educational plan that will include hazing prevention.

Among other Board actions:

  • The Board passed a resolution of appreciation to Julie Volcheck. After 14 years of running her own business in the medical field, Volcheck joined Kent State in 2012 as associate director of University Health Services. She advanced steadily through the Division of Student Affairs, serving first as interim then the permanent director of University Health Services in 2017 and then tapped as interim and then the permanent assistant vice president in 2020. Volcheck helped the university navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic. She provided superb leadership, wise counsel and tireless service, contributing immeasurably to the health, safety and well-being of the university’s students, faculty, staff and the broader community. Volcheck will retire on Dec. 31, and the Board expressed its deep gratitude to Volcheck and wished her and her family all the best.
  • The Board confirmed the conferral of a total of 1,225 degrees for summer 2021 on those Kent State students who have been officially recorded by the University Registrar as having completed the requirements of their respective programs of study during the period of May 15, 2021, to Aug. 21, 2021.
  • The Board approved the following name revisions:
    • The Department of Geology will be changed to the Department of Earth Sciences within the College of Arts and Sciences, effective fall 2022. The new name more accurately reflects the current scope and nature of the department’s interdisciplinary research in all fields of modern earth science.
    • The Acting – Intended for the Returning Professional major in the College of the Arts will be changed to the Acting major within the Master of Fine Arts degree, effective fall 2022. The new name was requested by the National Association of Schools of Theatre to more accurately clarify the intention of the program.
  • The Board approved a 1.5% adjustment to the pay structure for unrepresented classified civil service staff, unclassified administrative and professional exempt staff and unclassified nonexempt staff not represented in a bargaining unit for Fiscal Year 2022. The pay structures associated with the compensation plans are reviewed and amended periodically to reflect changes in economic and market conditions. The structure adjustments are effective with the pay period that includes Oct. 1, 2021.
  • The Board approved an increased budget in support of the Aeronautics and Engineering Building addition project. Since the approval of the addition during the June 2021 Board meeting, the university has been tracking construction market data with concern over rapidly rising inflation rates. For the project to proceed on the current construction timeline, the amendment increases the Aeronautics and Engineering Building project budget from $19.6 million to $23.1 million, which will be funded from university local funds.
  • The Board approved the renewal of the power plant turbines preventive maintenance contract. Solar Turbine Inc. was determined to be the sole provider that can supply the services required to maintain a safe and efficient system. The university will enter into a contract with Solar Turbines Inc. The total cost for this service will be approximately $68,000 per month and will continue until the end of each turbine’s respective life (approximately 78 months), plus additional set service fees at the end of operational life, bringing the total projected cost to $5.3 million.
  • The Board approved the White Hall Front Campus Chilled Water Plant and loop project. The existing Front Campus Chiller Plant is comprised of individual chiller equipment at or near end of service life at three separate connected locations that do not operate or pump efficiently. The construction of the new centralized Front Campus Chiller Plant will be located at a single location in White Hall with four new 600-ton electric magnetic bearing chillers serving 12 connected buildings. State of Ohio capital funds in the amount of $7.5 million will be used to construct the new centralized chiller plant, and the project design will commence in spring 2022 with construction anticipated to be completed in early 2024.
  • The Board approved parking lot improvements for Verder Hall and 224 S. Willow St. The project will rehabilitate and expand the parking lot with the replacement of lighting and pavement, including curbs, walks and asphalt surfaces, as well as improve pedestrian circulation through the Verder Hall parking lot. It also will construct a 75-space parking lot on university-owned vacant land located at 224 S. Willow St., addressing a critical parking shortage in the northwest area of campus. Funds from the Parking Services Improvement Fund in the amount of $1,895,000 will be used for the project.
  • The Board approved athletic field surface improvements for the softball diamond at Dix Stadium. The existing natural turf field at the Diamond at Dix, home of the women’s softball team, must be improved to address student-athlete safety, playability and deferred maintenance needs for the player dugouts. Intercollegiate Athletics has committed $1.15 million in local funds designated for facilities renewal. Construction will be scheduled during summer 2022 following the spring sports season.
  • The Board authorized the senior vice president for finance and administration to lease the property located at 430-436 E. Main St. upon such terms and conditions that are mutually agreed to by the parties. A local restaurant owner has proposed to lease the premises for fair market value for the purpose of opening a food service location that will serve the university and Kent community. The approximately 1,628 square feet of the property was leased to Starbucks Corp. for operation of a coffee shop under a lease agreement. Starbuck Corp. has ceased operations on the premises and provided proper notice of termination of the lease on Dec. 22, 2021.
  • Per the recommendation of the Nominating and Governance Committee, the Board appointed Ambassador Edward F. Crawford as a National Trustee, effective March 1, 2022. Crawford will serve a three-year term in this nonvoting trustee role. He joins Barry Fetterman and Sandra Volpe as National Trustees.

# # #

Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 19, 2024 11:27 AM
University Communications and Marketing